Wireless integrated keyboard/mouse device for HTPC
December 6, 2010 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a good wireless integrated keyboard/mouse device suitable for a home theater PC.

Currently, we're using a standard full-sized wireless keyboard and mouse (2.4 GHz). The range is good, but it's not most elegant solution. I've been looking at both remote control-sized devices and larger full-sized integrated devices on Amazon.com, but reading the reviews makes me pause on just about everything available.

Price isn't really a factor, but less than $100 would be nice. This will be used in a converted bedroom, so extended wireless range isn't really a selling point. The handheld models seem best, but being able to use the keyboard for casual browsing without frustration is also desirable.

Mainly, the top consideration is ease of use while horizontal on the couch. Thanks for any recommendations or anecdotes you have with these things!
posted by Burhanistan to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Since my HTPC is a constantly evolving project, I settled on a gyroscopic mouse/keyboard combination from Gyration. This solution isn't for everyone, but for me ended up being the easiest to integrate...and is really comfortable once you get used to air-mousing. The gyro-mouse is also usable as a regular wireless mouse for when it is on a surface. The keyboard that comes with these is great for general browsing/typing. It will not be ideal for gaming where more than 4 keys need to be pressed simultaneously.

If typing isn't as big of a deal, they also make an air-remote that doubles as a mouse and MCE controller.

If looking for a more integrated solution, Adesso makes a decent wireless keyboard with track pad.
posted by samsara at 10:00 AM on December 6, 2010

We just got this one, and I've coincidentally noticed it popping up everywhere being reviewed.
We are very happy with it so far; I just have 2 complaints:
* I wish the Laser Pointer could be permanently disabled; there's a bit of a danger with that in case my 2-year-old figures it out.
* At least my model came with a really cheap crappy USB cable that couldn't even handle charging the battery (and got really scarily warm). But it's a standard connector so I charged it using a different wire (a PS3 controller charging cable).
posted by jozxyqk at 10:01 AM on December 6, 2010

We have the Logitech diNovo Mini. I've had it for about 18 months now. It's a great device, but not a perfect one.

-Works reliably, even with Linux. It's a bluetooth device, so it has quite decent range and won't interfere with your wifi network. I can use mine from 25 feet away quite reliably.
-Has a good battery. It lasts about a month between charges and comes with an integrated rechargable battery. Not having to hunt down a couple of AAs on Saturday night is nice.
-Fits the hand well. It's a pleasant device to handle, just the right size for the palm
-backlit keyboard. Very nice in a dark room.

-Very, very expensive.
-Minikey board is weak for non-alphabetic characters. This is especially annoying if you're web browsing and want to zoom the text, for example. Ctl + + turns into an awkward three key press chord using a function key. The function key extra markings also don't light up, meaning that for any non-basic use, you need to turn a light on.
-The track pad is only as good as a small trackpad can be. It's fine for what it is, but no small trackpad is going to be as goods as a real mouse or even a trackball.
-Early Ubuntu support was a bit spotty, but the last two versions, 10.4+, have been great.

On preview:
I've had dreadful results with Adesso keyboards, though a previous generation than the one linked. Physically they were a nice design, but the wifi link was utter crap. Dropped every second keypress. More fool me, I had two thinking one might be a hardware failure. Caveat emptor there, IMO.
posted by bonehead at 10:04 AM on December 6, 2010

Full Size: Logitech diNovo Edge. Full size keyboard with media control features (FF, Pause, volume, etc.) and an integrated trackpad (the disc on the lower right in the picture) for mouse/cursor control.
I have one, it works great, the batteries last a long time; and it's not only the best wireless keyboard I've used, but nearly as good as wired keyboards.

Compact model: Logitech diNovo Mini. I've never used one of these, but it's been around for several years and has good reviews. Not much like a standard TV remote; more like the diNovo Edge keyboard w/trackpad above shrunken down to the size of a checkbook. Might work?
posted by bartleby at 10:09 AM on December 6, 2010

I like the Logitech® Cordless MediaBoard Pro for PLAYSTATION®3, which seems to work with any BLueTooth, and is cheap. Runs off two rechargeable AAs, which are easy to keep around the place.
posted by scruss at 11:20 AM on December 6, 2010

I have the Deovo Mini and am not fully happy with it:
- the trackpad is very flakey and too small
- the double-key combinations (like for a right-click) are a pain.

There is also this one from Lenovo. They are similar in keyboard layout, but the trackball and actual right/left buttons are much easier to use. Much Cheaper too!
posted by TDIpod at 12:47 PM on December 6, 2010

We just got this one from IOGear and are pretty pleased with it. The price was right, too.
posted by gnutron at 12:50 PM on December 6, 2010

I also have a diNovo Edge and it's a wonderful keyboard. The keyboard feels great, the trackpad works ok (it's got a neat "scroll" feature where you rub your finger around the edge of the round scrollpad, it'll scroll seamlessly). Some lighting on the keyboard; useful in the dark. Useful shortcut keys (sliding volume control, &c). Range is good (bluetooth - my iteration use a dongle on the PC but it works with Macs without the dongle), battery is excellent. It looks fantastic.

Spendy, though.
posted by porpoise at 2:44 PM on December 6, 2010

Man, I didn't even think about using my iPod touch. Hipporemote is pretty dang nice, and only $5. I was kind of iffy about it until I discovered all the different application profiles.

I like the Logitech diNovo Mini also, but the iOS app will keep me happy for now.

Thanks for all the responses---hopefully others who are looking for a similar device will have a bit more data to decide with.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:33 PM on December 6, 2010

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